Safe Haven law expands

HARRISBURG - The Senate on Thursday passed legislation to expand the state's Safe Haven law to include police officers, according to Sen. John Gordner (R-27).

House Bill 1090 by Rep. Rosita Youngblood (D-Philadelphia) passed the Senate unanimously and has been sent to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature to become law.

In July 2001, a newborn infant's body was discovered in a trash compactor at the Sunbury Municipal Transfer Station. "Baby Mary's" death led to the enactment of the state's Safe Haven law by former Sen. Edward W. Helfrick in 2002, which allows parents of newborns to safely abandon them at medical facilities without fear of prosecution. House Bill 1090, once signed into law, will allow legal abandonments to also occur at police stations if the infant is surrendered to an officer.

Since a rash of national infant abandonments in the late 1990s, all 50 states have enacted Safe Haven statutes, and many include provisions that allow safe abandonments with police. The National Safe Haven Alliance estimates more than 1,000 babies have been saved due to the laws, including several in Pennsylvania.

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